Ravenstahl calls police promotion rules ‘unacceptable’
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today said he was unaware of the allegations of domestic violence against two of three police officers promoted last week and took steps to change the city’s rules governing the promotion of officers, which he called “obsolete and unacceptable.”
On June 18, Chief Nate Harper and Ravenstahl promoted Cmdr. George Trosky, Lt. Charles Rodriguez and Sgt. Eugene Hlavac.
Trosky was demoted in 1997 after he allegedly hit his wife; Rodriguez was charged with simple assault in April after police said he struck his daughter; and city police were summoned to Hlavac’s home in March to investigate reports of screaming.
Ravenstahl said he knew of Trosky’s past, but he said he was unaware of the allegations against Rodriguez and Hlavac.
“I did not know of those individuals and their history or allegations that were out there, and I now do,” Ravenstahl said. “I’m upset that I didn’t know. And I let the chief know that he should have communicated that to me.”
Harper and Ravenstahl will draft new polices in the next two days “so that when decisions like this are made they are made in a more comprehensive manner.”
That means factors such as criminal charges against a police officer and other marks on their records could be considered before a promotion is awarded.
Current civil service rules for promotions rely largely on seniority, rank and a test score.
“Sergeants and lieutenants are promoted now without the ability for the mayor to say ‘yes’ or ‘no either way,” Ravenstahl said.
That, too could be changed, he said.
“I have a better understanding now of the policies and procedures that currently exist in the police bureau. I think it’s safe to say that they’re obsolete and unacceptable,” Ravenstahl said after meeting with Harper and other police brass.
Harper declined to comment after the meeting, except to say he would work with the mayor.
The Squirrel Hill chapter of NOW — the National Organization for Women — has petitioned for a public hearing on the promotions Thursday. The National Council of Jewish Women, Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania and the League of Independent Voters also will participate in the hearing.
Gigi Saladna, Ravenstahl’s spokeswoman, said the mayor doesn’t plan to attend, but he will meet Wednesday with the Allegheny County-City of Pittsburgh Women’s Commission, which has asked to discuss the promotions with the mayor.
Harper will attend the public hearing.
Jeanne Clark, a member of the Squirrel Hill chapter of NOW, said she hopes Ravenstahl will watch and listen to what is said at the hearing.
“But listening is just the first step,” she said. “Fixing this problem and making sure it doesn’t happen again is vital. So we want to see how they intend to change how domestic violence is handled by Pittsburgh police and within the force.”
Trosky has said his problems related to domestic violence were “a lifetime ago” and “over with.” The charges against him were dropped. Rodriguez was cleared by the county Office of Children, Youth and Families, police said. Ingram police charged him with simple assault for slapping his daughter April 29. The case is pending.